The luxury mobile phone market is one I've never really understood. But then I don't really understand the luxury market for any good or service. Why pay over the odds for something when you don't have to? Passes me by, that one.
Still, there are plenty of people who will do just that, to show off how much money they actually have, I suppose. If you have cash to fritter away at the moment, then Motorola's new mobile phone, the AURA, might appeal.
There's no doubting it is stunningly made. Stainless steel is used for the casing and its pattern of textures looks very nice indeed. The phone opens around a swivel in the centre of the display, which is circular like a watch.
A peep-hole on the back of the phone lets you see the swivel cogs in action. they work alongside 130 ball bearings to make for a very smooth mechanism. And the round screen is rather fetching. The whole phone has a very watch-like feel to it, which is precisely what Motorola intends and which is delivered, in part, thanks to the watch-like clock and wallpapers.
The circular screen is a problem, though. The thing is, much of what mobile phones are meant to display is not made for round screens. And while Motorola has worked around this a lot of the time, on some occasions things are very wrong.
The worst culprit, in my view, is the camera. When you frame a photo on a mobile you expect to see on screen what you'll see in the final image. I've come across some mobiles where this doesn't quite work, but nothing as bad as the AURA. Even the manual makes it plain that you will get a lot more in your photos than you frame on the handset. As a result, no photo I took with the phone was pleasing.
And then there are the general specifications, which are hardly at the cutting edge. Quad-band GSM but no 3G. Bluetooth but no Wi-Fi. No GPS. 2GB of built in memory and no flash memory slot. A 2 megapixel camera with that framing problem, fixed focus, no flash.
There is more about the AURA here.
If you really want one Expansys is selling it for £1,300 inc VAT SIM free.